Our awesome community saved over 13,000kg of textiles from landfill in one month! Here’s how…
When Covid-19 restrictions increased, our team had already been working remotely for 2 weeks. This was in part due to an internet connection issue in our office, but also because we wanted to ensure the safety of our families and friends by reducing unnecessary contact with each other. When Australia tightened restrictions we already had a pretty decent lay of the land — after all, we’d been working from home for 14 days! What could go wrong?
Well… plenty! We realised things were about to change and quickly, for us as well as people working in just about every other industry (hospitality, retail, tourism, events, music, weddings and fitness to name a few!).
Our plan to launch our sock recycling program in the US on the 23rd of March was looking less and less likely as the date approached. So we put our heads together, remotely of course, and thought… how can we continue to reduce textile waste during isolation and how can we encourage Australians to join us?
Cue the announcement of our Clothing Recycling Collection service! Whilst initially planned for a July 2020 launch we announced the launch on March 26th to our database, informing them that we’d brought our textile recycling initiative to life earlier than expected — offering contactless-collection of their old, unwanted and damaged textiles, clothing and shoes Australia-wide.
Our community had been asking us to expand our sock recycling initiative for months so we knew they wanted the option to recycle more items, but we didn’t know how it would be received. After all — how many times do you get to launch a world first direct-to-consumer recycling initiative in the middle of a global pandemic? (The answer is “never”!)
Needless to say, we were absolutely blown away by the response!
In the few weeks that have passed we have diverted over 13,000kgs from almost every corner in Australia. It’s been challenging, but nothing great comes easy — we’ve even had to lease a second warehouse to start storing all the boxes we’ve been receiving!
Of the almost 30,000 pieces of clothing, shoes, sheets, towels and more received, approximately 60% are in a fit-for-wear condition, ensuring that we can pass them onto our epic partners Good360, Ready Set, Sacred Heart Mission and many others!
Items in a fit-for-wear condition.
Items in a recyclable condition.
The remaining items are being sorted for repurposing or recycling by our newest team member, Andrew, who has joined us as our internal courier and warehouse guru after his own business was severely impacted by Covid. Part of bringing Clothing Recycling to market early was motivated by the potential opportunity to provide employment to people we knew who had been hit hard — and we’re so pleased to have had Andrew join us!
The response from the wider community has also been incredible, with many awesome Australian organisations and businesses reaching out to us to explore opportunities for textile recycling or distributing fit-for-wear items within their own networks.
So far we’ve joined forces with St Kilda Mums, giving them priority access to any baby clothes that are sent to us. As restrictions in Victoria ease, they will be providing us with volunteers to help sort through the items sent to us to identify any baby clothing that they can pass onto their community of mums!
We’ve also kickstarted an epic initiative with CouriersPlease to recycle all of their old uniforms! They have also committed to placing collection bins in their depots to encourage their franchisees and employees to bring in their unwanted clothing, linen and shoes to be reused, repurposed or recycled!
Last, but certainly not least — we’ve arranged for over 150 pairs of socks and underwear to be donated to Sacred Heart Mission so that they can provide these important, essential items to people who are doing it tough. We’ve given them the opportunity to assist us with the sorting process so that they can also select fit-for-wear items to distribute within their own network.
If you know an organisation or business who would love to join us in reducing textile waste or that can benefit from some of these items, you can connect them with our team via email at → firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, if like thousands of other Australians you have time in isolation to conduct a wardrobe clean-out and pack up a box of your old, damaged or unwanted textiles and shoes — book a 10kg collection through us HERE and we’ll give your items a second life! We guarantee it.